I like to pretend that when I happened upon these natural cleaners, I was looking to expel all the yucky chemical cleaners from our home. Reality is, I was in a pinch and gave them a try – given the relatively low cost, I had nothing to lose except a little time.
This comes from a lover of all the name brand cleaners. They always seemed to work better, faster, and longer than their bargain equivalent. Or maybe, their marketing had worked on me. Plus, I am picky! I have however discovered 3 natural cleaners that will now use consistently in our home.
I originally received this recipe from a sweet friend, only to find out it originally came from the Duggar family. I have used this laundry detergent exclusively for going on 2 years. For the first batch (which makes 10 gallons of detergent), I had to purchase all of the ingredients, which put me back around $10 (less than the price of a large carton of liquid Tide). For the next 3 batches, I have only had to purchase the Fels-Naptha, which was $1.29 last week. So, for 2 years of laundry (pretty much a load every day in our house), I have paid less than $15 for laundry detergent.
I know that you are worried about the time it’s going to take you to make it. The last time I made it, I put my water on to boil and grated my soap (with my stand mixer grater attachment, haha), and let it work while I did the dishes. By the time I had the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded and some pots washed, it was ready for the next step.
It may take you a few loads to get used to the new smell of your laundry. It no longer smells flower fresh, or whatever the scent of your detergent. It smells like nothing. Just plain clean.
On the subject of laundry, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I have also started using wool balls in place of dryer sheets. It has been a life changing experience. My dryer runs shorter, my clothes are no longer filmy. You can make your own by felting some wool yarn balls, or I purchased mine off amazon for $25 for 6 balls.
2- Dishwasher Cleaner
Once a month, I run a cleaning cycle in my dishwasher. First, 1 cup of vinegar in a dishwasher safe container (I like to use a glass measuring cup), standing up on the top rack. I usually run this in an empty dishwasher, but if I have any dishes that have leftover hard water deposits, I will add those too – the vinegar will clean them right up. Run a full cycle on the hottest water available. After the vinegar cycle is complete, empty any dishes you ran through, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the drum, where the water sprayer is, and again run a cycle on the hottest water available. Then you must admire your sparkly clean dishwasher!
3- Hardwood Floor Cleaner
1 cup white vinegar + 1 cup hot water. You can add a couple drops of essential oils if you want a lemony scent. But I never do. The vinegar scent does linger a little, but my family has learned to equate that to momma just mopped the floors. You can replace this in your bucket, for your mop or if you clean your hardwoods on your hands and knees, but I (cheat) add it to my Swiffer Wet Mop dispenser and spray and mop.
During my experimenting, I came across 2 natural recipes that I just could never get on board with. They didn’t hold up to the standards set by the commercial brands. So, I will continue to buy these with no regrets.
1- Mirror and Window Cleaner
Vinegar + water. This left my mirrors streaky. Nothing is more annoying than trying to put in your contacts with a streaky mirror. Windex was the clear winner for me.
2- Granite Cleaner
Dawn + alcohol + water. Our counter tops are swirls of browns, tans, and golds. This recipe took the sheen away after a couple uses, dulled the glimmer from the golden flecks in the stone. I was disappointed, but I will happily buy 409 Stone & Steel for my granite and stainless appliances.